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Sun., Nov. 23
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Potsdam voters give budget 70 percent support

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POTSDAM - Superintendent Patrick H. Brady and members of the board of education can now breath a sigh of relief after their budget proposal received 70 percent support from its district’s voters.

The $26,782,798 budget exceeded the district’s maximum allowable levy by 0.9 percent, meaning that in order to pass 60 percent support , plus one vote, was needed.

“We received 70 percent support on the budget, so that was an excellent margin,” Mr. Brady said. “We are all very appreciative of the Potsdam community for their support of our school and students.”

The 2.9 percent tax levy increase was coupled with more than $2 million from reserves to help the district preserve its programs and as many positions as possible.

“This has been a challenging year with low state aid for the fourth year in a row,” Mr. Brady said. “Even though we were above the tax cap, they (voters) looked at the increase of 2.9 percent, which was the rate of inflation, and thought that was reasonable.”

John Jones agreed, speaking Tuesday afternoon, as he stood outside the school after casting his ballot.

“I felt it was a fair budget,” he said, calling the tax levy increase “more than fair.”

Mr. Brady said the transparency shown by the district throughout this year’s budget creation process may have helped.

“We worked very hard this year to try and education the public on the challenges we were facing and what we were doing to preserve our staff and programs,” he said.

The budget’s ability to do just that may have also helped in the eyes of the district’s taxpayers.

“I’m an educator,” Richard Partch said. “We’re struggling to keep decent advancements for our youth and the board has done the best that they could.”

Kimberly Busch agreed and said it’s important to support school budgets, which in turn support the community’s children.

“I think a good education is the best thing we can give our kids other than love,” she said.

Another district voter simply said she supports the budget every year.

“I always vote yes on the budget,” Ellen Hayes said.

“We have a well educated community in Potsdam, and they look at the issues. They understand the conditions our board was facing and they voted accordingly,” Mr. Brady said. “We appreciate that support.”

From a field of six candidates, the race’s lone incumbent, J. Patrick Turbett, was re-elected to the board with 459 votes. Mr. Turbett was actually the third-leading vote-getter with newcomers Danielle L. Gray and James Hubbard also winning board seats with 584 and 508 votes respectively.

“I want to thank everyone who got out and voted. I look forward to working with the board and coming up with a solution for the financial crisis we are going through,” Mr. Hubbard said.

Efforts to reach Mr. Turbett and Ms. Gray Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

Three former board of education members rounded out the field with Ann M. Carvill receiving 429 votes, Mary Ashley Carroll receiving 353 votes and Sandra D. Morris receiving 325.

A bus proposition appearing on the ballot also passed with 754 yes and 256 no votes. The proposition calls for the district to purchase two buses at a cost not to exceed $200,422.

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